Do I have to go to the lawyer’s office to get help with SSDI?
Do I Need to Meet with an Attorney in Person about My SSDI Claim?
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal life for everyone, but people with disabilities face some unique problems. An injury or illness may have resulted in mobility issues or left their immune system compromised. They may not be able to travel far from their home or may be worried about health and safety precautions. Because of the inconvenience of travel and challenges of health issues, a person with a disability may avoid legal counsel. If they live a distance from an attorney’s office, they may not have the means to get to an appointment, or they may simply feel uncomfortable meeting with an attorney at their office. There are however systems in place to allow an individual to remain in the comfort and safety of their own home and still pursue a disability claim from beginning all the way to final resolution.
Even with the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on daily routines, there is no need to be discouraged about filing a claim for Social Security Disability Income if you are disabled and unable to work.
If you are interested in obtaining legal assistance, you do not need to meet with an attorney in person. Attorneys can keep their clients safe by handling any stage of the Social Security claim process through telephone conferences, email, text, and video conferencing. At Bemis, Roach and Reed we take our clients’ health and safety very seriously. We can assist you in filing your initial application and can handle all aspects of your appeal without ever needing to meet you in person.
In March 2020, the Social Security Administration closed all its offices to the public for in-person meetings because of COVID-19.
Because SSA offices will remain closed for the foreseeable future, applicants and their attorneys and representatives have adapted to new filing and hearing procedures. Filing a claim for SSDI can be done online or over the phone, and hearings can be held over the phone or through video conferencing.
If you have been denied disability don’t give up! Contact a Disability lawyer at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
Every facet of your case can be handled without meeting in person.
Your initial claim can be filed electronically. Evidence and medical records can be requested and gathered through a phone call or email. Filing an appeal and requests for hearings are also performed electronically and an attorney can prepare you for a hearing over the phone.
Hearings before an Administrative Law Judge are perhaps the most intimidating aspect of an SSDI case.
In addition to their efforts to protect their employees, the Social Security Administration recognizes concerns claimants may have about attending in-person hearings and now offers two options for hearings: via telephone or online video conferencing. During a phone conference, Social Security will call you and other participants, including the ALJ, the hearing reporter, and your attorney if you have one. The phone call may also include a vocational expert, a medical expert, and an interpreter. The ALJ will swear in participants, deliver the oath, listen to testimony and ask questions if necessary. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Hearings via online video conferencing are conducted in a similar manner to telephone hearings; the main difference is that you will be able to see the ALJ, your attorney, and other participants.
You can attend from any private location that has a secure Internet connection using a camera-enabled phone, tablet or computer.
Hearings via phone and video conferencing both have advantages and disadvantages.
You do not have to travel or worry about mobility issues or finding a parking space. There is no waiting in uncomfortable offices. At the same time something is lost in a phone hearing where a judge is unable to see the claimant and get a sense of their disability. Also, many people with disabilities do not have access to the Internet and would not be able to appear at a video conference.
For those claimants who do not wish to attend a hearing by phone or video-conference, Social Security is willing to postpone a hearing until a time when the hearing can be held in-person.
However, at this time, Social Security is unable to project when in-person hearings will resume and this will delay approval of benefits. For some claimants with severe financial need, a hearing by phone is the wisest choice.
If you need help filing an initial claim, or if you have received a denial from Social Security and want to file an appeal, Bemis, Roach and Reed is ready to provide guidance and assistance.
We can be reached easily by email, through our website, or by simply calling us. Our friendly intake specialists will be happy to help you assess your possible eligibility for disability assistance and will answer any questions you may have.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court – all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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